St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Well Driller's Manual



Margo is headed back to Mayo for a followup appointment on her back surgery.  She thinks it is successful, as she doesn't have the leg pain.  The pain from the surgery is going away gradually and she is beginning to walk around without a walker, sometimes with a cane and sometimes without!   So we expect the surgeon to look at the scar and say things are healing fine and remind her to not lift or bend much yet, but to get into an exercise program including walking.  Another success from the Mayo Clinic!

After several days of 30s and 40s the snow all melted and things looked almost like March around the farm.  However, Sunday night it cooled down and an inch or so of new snow covered everything--making it white again. As it is not enough to bother getting around the woods or fields, there is no excuse for not getting at some of the outdoor fixes here on the farm, and maybe cutting some of the dead fenceline elms into firewood.   Always can use more for sap cooking.  


After cleaning the basement, I got sort of sick for a couple days -- probably all the dirt, dust, mouse manure, cobwebs I breathed in.  Next time will try a face mask on a job like this.  I catch about one mouse or vole each week in the basement, mostly in glue traps.  Assume there is an unlimited supply outdoors that migrate in through all the old house cracks.  

The farm has a lot of buildings and space.  Mom and Dad got rid of their cattle in the late 1980s and after that,  it seemed every building got filled with the leftovers from neighbors and relatives stuff they asked to "store" in the buildings or passed along.  Old pieces of wood paneling; plastic dishes, stoves, heaters, bolts, nails, beds, furniture, mattresses, and pretty much anything you can imagine.   I suppose I should just get a dumpster and dump it, but feel obligated to sort through and separate out anything recyclable, usable, or potentially usable.   Does one  really need two big old fanning mills?  Does one need an extra pumpjack for parts?  How about a sawdust blower from grandpa's saw mill?   Bulky and probably at least 50 and maybe 100 years old.   Speaking of pump jacks got me thinking about farm water systems.  So stand back and get saturated with the farm well. 


Taking advantage of the warm weather, I did the monthly water well maintenance:  check the belt is tight, oil and grease the bearings, add air pressure to the water tank (has a slow leak) and screw in the winter light bulbs so the small building won't freeze up.  It is a clunky system, but has been working with few problems for the past 60 years (with various replacement of parts, motors and pipes, etc.)   However, it worries me.  







 The next big repair on the farm -- probably next summer-- is the water well and system.   The original farmer here, Ole Nelson, who came in the 1880s had a hand dug open well -- about 90 feet deep and probably 3-4 feet in diameter.   

In the old days, you hired someone like neighbor John Penny to dig a well (or did it yourself).  You took a pick, shovel and windlass with bucket and hand chipped your way through the red clay making a hole big enough to work in.  As you dug down, a wooden square frame slid down the hole, being added to at the top -- to keep the dirt from caving in (although on the very deep clay layer here, that probably wasn't needed.  Eventually you got below that into wet sandy gravel--the water table and you dug some say into that cribbing it up with rocks to keep the sand back.  The windlass was kept--to pull up a wooden bucket with water.  Most folks built a foundation a couple of feet higher at the top to keep out surface drainage and added a roof over the open well.  


Sometimes a second rope was added to the windlass to hold a

bucket of items in need of refrigeration to be lowered into the well in the hot days of summer.  Down the well, the temperature was about 50, so cream, butter, meat and other food lasted a few days longer in the cool damp well. 

Sometime in the early 1900s (or maybe even earlier), the well was changed.  A 4 inch metal pipe casing 90 feet long was lowered to the bottom of the well, and the dirt filled in around it.  Open wells were unsanitary with frogs, mice, dirt, etc falling down into the water.  Nelson mechanized the farm by adding a windmill tower and blade on a 30 foot metal frame above the new casing.   Inside the casing, a well point, pumping cylinder connected to a 90 foot well rod and 90 feet of 1 1/4 inch pipe was lowered down the casing. 



At the top, a well pump with handle was screwed onto the pipe and the well rod hooked to the handle.  Moving the handle, moved the well rod up and down and inside the cylinder, a piston moved up and down, activating some flapper valves to bring water to the surface and out the pump spout.  


The windmill blade had a set of gears that turned with the wind and changed rotary motion to up and down motion that ran the well rod and automated pumping water.  




Wind power was pretty good, but some times the wind didn't blow, so the windmill was replaced by a gas engine pump sometime -- probably in the early 1930s.  The Worth School (out in West Sterling -- on Trade River) closed about 1932.  John Nelson bought the old wood shed and moved it to the farm to put over the well and as a storage building and milk house and engine house for the pump.   He also used it for keeping the moonshine cool in the tank where he put his milk cans and pumped cold water on them.  


When Dad moved in, he put overhead pipes to gravity tanks in the upstairs of the house and barn for water to the cows -- with water cups and for the sink in the house.  


Well, to get back to the well, in the dry 1930s, the well went dry too--couldn't pump enough water for farm needs.   Axel Bergstrom (I think), the local well man, came out and pulled the pipes up.  The casing had no perforations in the bottom and no point on it, so the only water that came in came through the bottom of the pipe -- 4 inch opening.  He put a well point (3 feet of perforated pipe with a point on the end) screwed to pumping cylinder (a home made one that was strong enough to drive) and then the connected the 90 feet of pipes and well rod.  When he got it above ground, he drove the point on the end another 8 feet down beyond the casing so it would give a much bigger area to draw water from.  That solved the problem and ever since, Dad followed that strategy when replacing the well (every 10-20 years the pipes rust, the cylinder fails or the well rod wears a hole from rubbing or something goes wrong).  


In the 1960s, Dad replaced the gravity system with a "pressure system" with a 30 gallon tank at the well that the pump jack raised to 40 lbs of water pressure and sent directly into the pipes in the barn and house rather than to the gravity tanks.  


I plan to pull the 90 feet of pipes, cylinder, rod and point this summer.  When we used to pull it ourselves, the first 8 feet had to be pulled with a couple of jacks to "undrive" the point out of the gravel.  Then we pulled it by 10 foot lengths and unscrewed each as it came up until all was out.  Then we replaced everything and put it all back down. 


This time I want to use plastic tubing with an electrical wire and rope connected to a submersible pump at the bottom to simplify things.  The question is whether there will be enough water seep into the end of the casing to make this work or not.   Otherwise I may have to have some kind of addition put on the end of the casing to go deeper and let more water in.  


What are the tools and supplies used in old well systems?


   -- the well pipe dog -- a device to keep the pipe from dropping into the well as you let the pipe down, stopped to add screw on more pipe and then lower it again.  Marv has one in his museum, so I need to take a photo of it -- Dad used it.


    -- Pipe wrenches of the modern type and a sort of special pipe wrench called a pipe tong, which I have to find in the garage and take a photo.  It had handles and a set screw that locked it onto a pipe I think.  Maybe in Marv's museum too. 

   --pipe cutter

   --pipe threader


   -- pipe fittings (note that driveable pipe couplings were needed on the well when it was driven down). 


   --neighbor Glenn Lucken worked on wells too.  When you dropped a pipe down the well accidentally, he had a special tool to recapture it.  I think it was a tapered solid point that you fished down the well and tried to get it into the dropped pipe opening and then twisted it and it's tapered threads let it grip the lost pipe and retrieve it.  I think my brother Ev might remember this -- will see if he knows.  I don't think we ever dropped a pipe--we were paranoid about clamping things onto it to keep it from falling.  When you have a point, cylinder, 80 feet of pipe and rod, it gets pretty heavy!

   









For shallow wells, you can use a pitcher pump that "sucks" the water up to 25 feet.  I use one at the cabin -- lakeside when my regular water system fails.  Just hook it on a pipe driven into the spring. 


The hand pump system that used to be on our well.  The flat rod at the top was hooked to the windmill and later to a pump jack to mechanically pump the handle. 


Inside the pipe is a rod that connects to the cylinder at the bottom where the pumping actually takes place.  On the handle up position, the rod goes down, a foot valve opens and lets water into the cylinder.  Pushing down the handle closes the valve and the leathers in the cylinder move the water upwards.  A tiny hole in the pipe about 6 feet below ground lets water in the pipe drop to that level when not in use so it won't freeze in winter. The rod sometimes rubs against the pipe and wears a hole in it.  The leathers in the cylinder wear out.  The pipe rusts.  The rod may wear thin and break.  However, repairs are usually good for 10 years or so.  


All sorts of tools are used to grab the pipe tightly so you can turn new sections on or hold it from dropping down the well.  Tongs


What I need on the bottom of the farm well is some perforations in the casing
To clean mud out of of a well



To bucket sand out of the bottom of a well--neighbor Raymond Noyes had his well cleaned with something like this. 


A somewhat older version of a well drilling machine





The bottom of my well has the casing with no holes or point


An old style pump jack with open gears.  Mine is modern with enclosed, oil bathed gears.  Turns rotary motion to up and down pump handle motion.





Graphite well/pump sealer

Well point -- at the bottom of the Hanson farm well driven into the gravel about 8 feet.  

   

Monday, December 15, 2014

Whining in the Cellar

The Olsen oil furnace has been smelling like kerosene when it runs for the past week or so.  Time for maintenance call.  I called a few months ago, and the man didn't show up, but the oil smell then disappeared, so didn't really mind.  
The way-too-steep basement stairway.  Mrs. John Nelson fell down it one time (she had 21 kids in the house her husband built for her),  Originally, a tip-up floor tipped back so it covered the stairway and made this area under the stairway going up to the upstairs sort of a walk in closet.  But it was unreliable (I think that was how Mrs. Nelson fell) and never used by the Hansons. 
With Margo somewhat delicate from the back surgery (she is doing good, starting to walk without walker or cane some of the time), and the smell coming back, called again.  The furnace man apologized and said he would be out this afternoon.  

As it is mild outside and raining, I opened up the outside basement stairway door and started hauling out some of the junk.   Got about 1/4 of the basement cleaned. Mostly old dishes, magazines, newspapers, bank statements, clothes that mice had rummaged through.  

 Full of cobwebs and signs of the red squirrel who had moved in this summer -- chewing on black walnuts and messing up some of the insulation.   Two days ago, I shot the 3rd red squirrel that came up by the house.  I am hopeful I have got them all -- I think they made about 4 different entrances into the basement and then up an interior wall, across the ceiling between downstairs ceiling and upstairs floor and into the living room wall.  Trapping failed, but I pinged them with 22 shorts from my single shot Western Field, $14 from Wards in 1960.

As I was cleaning (about 1/4 down), I noticed the east wall had a water leak, the cement wall cracked here and there, and lots of junk to get rid of.  In her younger days, Mom had the basement in great order, but as she got older she let it slide -- too steep of stairs to get down and so sent her grandson's with what should have been tossed or recycled or junked and stored it in the basement. 

Emil Nelson was a kid when the house foundation and basement was dug (1917).  He said he "helped."  One team pulled a walking plow with a man to make furrows and loosen the hard red clay and another pulled a scraper to drag out the loose clay.  Emil rode the horse that pulled the scraper.  
The old concrete walls show the imprint of the board forms.  Dad put in glass block windows and Mom had it whitewashed in the 1950s.  Sort of cracked and crumbly after the 1st 100 years, probably only last for another 100. 
To dig a basement this way made a much larger hole than needed, but it was "mechanized" better than digging it all by hand.   The concrete basement walls were poured with board forms, leaving their imprint on the walls.  In one corner is the charred ceiling where Ole Olsen's moonshine still blew up and burned the joists and ceiling boards.    Mom, disliking dark rooms, had Dad whitewash the whole basement making it brilliant white for a time.  
The basement was where all the canned good were stored on wall shelves.  A colder area kept potatoes, apples, and other root crops.  In the fall, 2/3 of the basement was filled with split firewood to feed the massive round furnace.  Dad put a copper line inside the furnace that ran to a metal water tank (like a hot water heater tank) so we got free hot water from the furnace heat coil.  The water was gravity feed from a 100 gallon water tank in the upstairs filled with an overhead pipe running from well house to the house.  
Dad did his own plumbing and never let looks get in the way of a straight shot for his plumbing.  Here the sewer line went in front of the canning shelves.  They are filled with junk!  Originally all cast iron with lead poured joints, one section is replaced with plastic line now.  Old lantern on the floor.  
Also in the basement was the small wood water heater, used in summer when the furnace was cold.  On washing day, we fired it up and heated 20 gallons of hot water for the Maytag washer--sometimes kept in the basement too.  

Originally, when Dad moved here in 1941 (married 1942), the basement had a dirt floor.  In the 1950s, we borrowed Grandpa's cement mixer, a few wheel barrows, hauled gravel from the Gullickson pit, and with a crew of Dad's brother's poured a complete concrete floor in a day.   Sometimes I got to mix--think it was 3 scoops of gravel for 1 scoop of cement mix, add water until it was soupy.  Quite fun for kids.

In the late 1940s, Harvey Olsen of Cushing ran electrical wires across the basement and up the walls to have 4 circuits in the big house.  In the 1950s Dad add indoor plumbing adding pipes and sewer lines here and there.  The wood furnace was replaced a couple of times and finally about 15 years ago the oil furnace replaced wood.  We tried to get Mom to go for a cheaper running propane furnace, but she was sure it would blow up, so the oil furnace is in.  I think fuel oil (#1) costs about 3-4 times as much as propane this year and requires much more furnace maintenance too. 







The brick chimney seems sound. Dad had a stainless steel square liner put in when he began to worry about chimney fires.  We did have chimney fires occasionally when I was young.  Dad would scramble up a ladder onto the top of the roof and sprinkle snow down the chimney as we shut off the furnace draft.   Never called the fire department for something like that.  They might pour water down it and crack the blocks -- sprinkled snow worked much better.
  

A wet spot today on the east wall near the north window--today's rain must be leaking in.  I have to do some landscaping around the house to slant the water away next summer.

Carrying beam north-south -- squared logs

Looks like Jed Hanson did some patching for Grandpa and Grandma!


The old Maytag.  Note the electric motor is gone.  Any spare electric motor went to run a grinder or other tool in the workshop!  Brother Ev has a genuine Maytag 1 cylinder gas engine I maybe could put on here to go off the grid!  Piled in with junk around it.

Old kerosene heater or two burner stove?  Update:  the furnace repair man took this home with him.  His grandmother had one for the summer kitchen, and he felt the urge to rescue this rusty two burner stove.  Note the green kerosene jug on the left!   New Perfection wick burners with isinglass. 

Do it yourself plumbing when you try to save money on pipes and copper is often cobbled up as they say in the country. 

This was once lath and plaster on one side (fartherest in) where paneling went over it and wainscoting on the other torn off to access the sink drain.  The lumber in this house was much from recycling an old log house and another old frame house.  


Cleaning out a basement is not all drudgery -- it is a good rainy day job and a little bit of a treasure hunt wondering if anything you find is actually worth saving.  In one corner is a walled in 6x5 sort of closet that was originally our photo darkroom, but got converted to the cold storage room for spuds, canned goods, and so on.  It still has canned goods from the 1990s that I have to take out and dump and clean the jars including about 20 quarts of a bad tasting batch of maple syrup from 1996 that we bottled, but never cared to use!   I opened one and tasted it, and age has not improved the flavor. 

Update:  The furnace repair man showed up, replaced the nozzle, cleaned here and there, cast a few spells and said call me if it still has problems.   Possible problem:  solenoid that shuts off the fuel line when the furnace stops might drip a little and that could cause some oil smell when starting. Otherwise it is a relatively new furnace with all the parts replaceable.   He admired the New Perfection two burner stove so much, even with the layers of rust and neglect, that I sent it home with him.  My brother's didn't want it -- I bet they missed out on a real treasure!   At least I think it will get repaired and used now!




Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Young Stock Barn Gets Attention

The Young Stock Barn

In the 1950s with the war over, the farm paid off and 4 boys (born 44,46,48 and 51) and Dad just turning 40, it was time to expand the farming operation.  First the barn got a new cinder block foundation and a Grade A milk house along with some inside improvements to house 24 cows and the horse barn attachment pulled down (it was in rough shape). 
Sixty years old and in need of some work


A box elder tree is invading the barn.  Although box elders are not great firewood, they are OK--actually in the maple family.  I don't use them to cook maple syrup, as that would be too close to cannibalism.  

One branch is lodged on the roof--will be tricky to get off.  I guess some chainsawing on the roof is in order. 


Grade A regulations required that calves couldn’t be tied along the walkways behind the cows, so that meant a new building for calves.   As in all building projects on the farm, they started with identifying some trees suitable for sawing into lumber.  The cow pasture, ½ mile up the road had some American Elms and basswood big enough for boards, even though in 1949 Dad sawed out a few thousand feet of elm and basswood for the garage/granary. 

Although Grandpa Pearl Hanson had a two-man chainsaw co-owned with Earl McLean (I think), Dad didn’t have help so he cut them down himself.  Instead of the big old one-man cross-cut saw, he bought a “Swede Saw,”  a large bow saw with a thin blade that was much lighter, faster and although somewhat difficult on large trees, worked well.  

A Swede saw -- when sharpened right, slices through a tree easily and quickly.  I have Dad's 60 year old one missing the blade, but prefer my chainsaw for logging. 
All winter, between morning and evening cow milking, barn cleaning, manure hauling and feeding silage, hay and grain to the cows and milk to the calves, getting firewood, and the usual farming chores, he would get away for an hour or two and drop trees, trim them with axe and saw, and cut to length for the lumber he needed for his barn.  At this time, Mom, with the 4 boys didn’t have much time to help in the barn and we were too young to do much more than feed calves or throw down silage or hay. 

Dad wanted a small haymow for 200 bales of hay (we hired a neighbor to bale our hay by then) to feed the young stock from Nov - April.  It needs two pens, one for 12 calves and another for 12 replacement heifers.  We sold the bull calves as soon as they were weaned at that time—a few years later, they bought another small farm with barn so we raised all the calves to 2 years old.
He figured about 20x32 would be right – with a 7 foot ceiling and room under the roof for hay.  A plain shed roof.  It would need a cement foundation and a cement floor for easy cleaning, and a large enough door to double as a garage if needed.

To get Lester Bergstrom in with his sawmill, Dad had to get enough logs to turn out 3000 board feet of lumber—more than he needed or wanted to get ready.  However, his father-in-law, Eugene Hanson, who lived nearby on the River Road farm, decided he would cut some logs out too and they would set the mill down on his farm. 

Dad didn’t have a tractor with a loader, so he decided to use the Super C in the spring to get the logs out of the woods pulling them with a chain to the field where he could get them loaded and hauled.  

By spring he had enough but by the time he headed to the woods to drag them out, an early melt had filled the low lying lands where many of the logs were deep with water. 

The portable sawmill was scheduled in a few weeks, so Dad took the Super C into the knee deep water, hooked onto the logs and floated and drug them out.  The ground underneath the water was till frozen, and he actually had an easier time

Loading logs was not particularly hard by hand.  The hayrack was taken off the wagon and a couple of  bunks added.  Then with cant hooks, Dad and his brother, Chancey (Uncle Channy) rolled them up the wagon on a couple of poles used as ramps and chained them down and hauled them to the hillside near Wolf Creek on Grandpa’s farm. 

Grandpa bought the sand farm as he was moving into retirement age.  It was not a good farm, but the house was large, 240 acres of land and lots of wildlife and nature along with huge sand fields.  Since the sand never got muddy in the spring, it was an ideal place to have the portable sawmill setup. 

    You can see photos of the logging setup at Logging  -- an earlier post about wood cutting. 

The sawing went well.  Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Lloyd and Uncle Chan all helped with the work and Dad got enough lumber to build his shed. 
Dad and Byron bought a sawmill, rebuilt it and set it up on the farm so they didn't have to pay to have a portable mill come in.  We still have it, although haven't used it much recently,  Some of the wood for the house we built in Pine Island came from this mill.   

When spring planting was done, and before haying began, Dad staked out the foundation for the new barn and we helped dig the trenches for the concrete.  He borrowed his dad’s motorized cement mixer, hauled many loads of gravel from the town pit just up the road on the corner of Gullickson’s farm, and bought the cement. 

Dad often hired his brothers to help with these projects.  As the youngest of 6 boys, Dad used the expertise of his older brothers to work on projects.  He always hired them or traded work with them.  Maurice, Lloyd, Chancey and Alvin lived in the area, and often would be available for a Saturday.  Later we 4 boys were more involved and Dad had his own crew.

American elm will dry crooked, so the strategy was to nail it down as soon as possible after sawing so it would dry held in place and stay straight.  Basswood didn’t warp, but shrunk while drying—not a problem for rough building projects.

The foundation was finished in a day with Mom making a big dinner and supper for the crew.  The foundation was studded with bolts, threads up, to bolt down the walls. 

A day for the concrete to dry, and Dad was busy building wall sections, standing them up and bolting them down to the foundation.  I think Uncle Maurice and Alvin helped with this.  The walls went up quickly—all rough 2x4s for frame and 1 inch boards nailed to them for the walls. 

The rafters for the peaked roof were also just 2x4s and roof boards home sawn lumber, all nailed together.  No power saws, just hand saws carefully sharpened by Uncle Maurice.  The building was framed and covered in a week.  So far the cost was for the sawmill, nails, and cement. 

Money was not easy to come by in the 1950s when milk prices stuck in the $2 per 100 lbs range and so when it came to roofing, Dad decided on mineral roll roofing – red color.  Cheap, fast and good for 15 years (later it got a tin roof).   The board sides had many gaps – rough lumber is that way, so it also got the same rolled roofing as the top.  Sixty years later it is showing some signs of wear and tear, but it was air tight and fast. 

Today, I started the cleanup of that building by cutting the 30 year old box elder that grew against the foundation and dropped onto the roof.  The journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step, as Chairman Mao used to tell me. 


      
My 25 year old 029 Stihl chainsaw makes short work of box elders.  I attribute it's longevity and cutting ability to the 10% ethanol gas I have faithfully used since buying it new.  My backwoods neighbors insist that I should use non-ethanol gas in my small engines, but that is just big oil talking through them ;-)

Defying gravity, this tree fell up and over the roof. Not an easy fix as it messed up the ridge tin too and I have to get up there and saw the limb and nail the roof.  My roofing days are mostly behind me.
 Inside the building are stored miscellaneous items -- mostly junk including old mice eaten upholstered furniture, a fanning mill, lots of scraps of paneling and at least one old oil or wood stove (at least it looks like that from the door).  Some of it is useable, some for a fire, some recyclable and a little actually useful. The stuff is a mess right now!   The reclaimed space will be for 10 bull calves that I am getting this spring to give Margo some exercise. 


Inside box elders is often bright red wood.  Quite pretty!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Margo's back is home

Margo comes home from back surgery assisted by her favorite son, Scott.  
After back surgery that turned out to be a decompression rather than the more complicated fusion (the surgeon wasn't sure which he would do until he got into the surgery),  Margo is back home and getting around with a walker.  Her leg pain is gone, replaced for now with some surgery pain, but that will go away in a few weeks. She has to be careful for a couple months and then should be back to normal!

Surgery was Tuesday, she came home Thursday.  The surgeon has a followup meeting in 2 weeks to see how she is progressing. 

That wasn't the only good news of the week.  Brother Ev had his checkup to see if leukemia had returned (he had a year of chemo back in 2006 ?).  His tests were normal and he doesn't have to go back for another year.   The tests are to see how many white blood cells are in his bloodstream.  If they get high that is the sign of cancer returning.  
Goal:  Eat and Eliminate--the Retiree's life!
Dad had leukemia in his last few years.  His white bloodcell count never got high enough nor did he have symptoms to need treatment.  Sort of a low level condition, that in his last year actually dropped back into normal.  He joked that the cancer had looked at how badly he had deteriorated at age 88 and decided to give up!  He had Parkinsons that made his last year very difficult--he had to have help with most everything.  Mom and his sons were able to keep him at home, something he appreciated. 

Health issues have been with Margo since being diagnosed with Cancer in July of 2012.  A year of treatment got rid of the cancer but knocked her down pretty much.  She was gradually getting her strength back when her father had a stroke in March of 2014.  She spent several months staying with him and during that time messed up her back.  He would have had to go to a nursing home, but with her help improved so instead went to an assisted care where he is getting along pretty good now.  

Assisted care is your own apartment with meals provided and someone to help with your meds, bath and maybe getting dressed if you need it.  It is very expensive, but leaves you a reasonable amount of independence.  Merlin, Margo's father, can't drive anymore, but calls a taxi when he wants to go somewhere.  Living in a bigger town makes those services available. 

So, we are getting our Christmas cards underway, thinking about some cookie baking and in general getting back to normal.  

I am in pretty darn good health.  Two years ago, I was under the weather with a severe autoimmune illness, myasthenia gravis.  A year of treatment with very high doses of prednisone and it went away and has stayed away now for 20 months without needing any medicine.  I am hopeful it, like Ev's cancer, will stay away!

Mayo Clinic is a pretty great place to go when you have medical problems.  Margo's surgeon only does backs, and he knows what he is doing!